Super Best Audio Friends
The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists
With the X, Grado has further differentiated the RS1 with sexier wood cups. I don't know how they pulled this off, but Grado managed to sandwich maple, hemp, and cocobolo in the wood cups. The wood cups on the RS1X are deeper than the cups on the rest of the lineup. The idea I presume is to maximize the coloration of these woods, which IMO is their best and most interesting yet. Make no mistake, the RS1X is a full-blown Grado interpretative experience. Long time Grado fans will love this. Audiophile wanting something a different may love this. For those who want something that plays stuff back more straight up, there are the SR225X and SR325X. Unlike the SR225X and 325X, the RS1X goes for the classic Grado tonal response on yesteryear, that is lean and punchy with upper mid crunch, but dial it back a bit in the mid-treble so it's no so bright.
Did I mention they are $200?
The SR225 in the Grado lineup has always be thought to be the high-value model. That is the price point knee where very good performance is obtained before serious things start to get very expensive. The SR225X is no different, although the SR325X is very compelling as well for not that much more. I think it's best that I cover the differences.
This is a feat in itself especially for an electromagnetic driver iem, but at the same time, they have excellent technicalities. They’re fast, very resolving, dynamic and have a huge soundstage. Not quite as expansive as the CA Solaris but very close.
I purchased a Walnut X.1 and liked it enough that I asked Tom (at Beezar, he builds these) to make me another one for another system. He mentioned he could put together one with amorphous transformers called X.3, and I happily paid him a deposit.
Before Walnut I had never heard something I have come to call the Schiit Smear. I had a Gungnir Multibit A1 and a Bifrost 2 in house when Walnut X.1 arrived, and for the first time they both had a sort of smear to them. Once I'd heard it, I didn't like it. Unfortunately for me, this is the kind of thing I can't un-hear. The clarity Walnut offers is something I very much enjoy.
May was tested mostly using NOS with HQ player via usb using golden ones recommended settings which push 44.1khz to 1.411mhz and 48khz to 1.5mhz doing the OS upstream of the DAC.
I tried May for a few days without the HQ settings and it lacked top end air, it was a tad harsh in the upper octaves and becomes fatiguing (with headphones/XLR*), bass is also a bit looser, everything is just not as polished as the HQplayer version which is just a much more pleasant and technically impressive experience.
The TU-8900 is Elekit’s latest model and uses directly heated triodes (DHTs) instead of pentodes like its predecessor. While most amps of this design tend to be built around one type of DHT, the 8900 has a unique auto detect circuitry that can recognize either 2A3 or 300B tubes. These power tubes are driven by either two 12AU7 or 12BH7 (my preference) and doesn’t require any tubes for rectification as this is accomplished via diodes.
My first Elekit build was the TU-8800 over a year back. Before this, I hadn’t been much of a DIY guy and always hated soldering back in engineering school. However, cabin fever has a way of making you reconsider options and I soon found myself staring at a kit with a soldering iron in hand.
There are 4 official versions of the AB1266. The AB1266, the AB1266 Phi, The AB1266 Phi CC, and finally, the AB1266 Phi TC. The 1266 Phi was a driver upgrade over the originals. The Phi CC was a upgrade of the finish to a ceramic coating, and new ear pads (not a driver change,) and the Phi TC is another fully new driver. I have personally owned the original AB1266, the AB1266 Phi, and the AB1266 Phi TC. I also owned the Diana Phi for a long period for good measure also. For the rest of this review, I’ll just refer to the Phi TC, as the TC’s, as the name is a bit long.
Abyss Headphones are made entirely in the USA, and are the best built headphones I have personally come across, perhaps tied with the Meze Empyrean in terms of build quality. The design of the AB1266 models is a bit polarizing, with some loving, and some hating it. Abyss has refined the design over the years it has been available, but it is largely the same as it was when it was originally released.
Yes, the iFi Go blu is tiny.
The sound of the iFi GO reminds me of the first A&K players which used the Wolfson DA chips. This was before A&K went to Cirrus which IMO were more boring sounding in units at x4-10 the price. Despite Wolfson based DACs having the most varied sound signature compared to DAC using other chips, I've always liked the Wolfson. I've owned the AMB Gamma 2 and PS Audio Perfectwave 1 and 2. Except here's the problem: the Go blu uses a Cirrus logic. This left me puzzled, until I realized that Cirrus had purchased Wolfson many years ago. I'm betting the Cirrus chip used in this thing is based on a older Wolfson design if not recycled outright. I'll leave the rest of you to do the investigation. I have no idea what part is used in the GO blu.
I have a big head. Note maximum extension. I do like to wear the LCD-R low and forward.
While the LCD-R is super sensitive to voltage, requiring barely any potential to move that ribbon, the LCD-R loves that massive firehouse sized stream of electrons. Unfortunately your amp is more than likely a garden hose. At best we'll get increased distortion. At worst, the output devices will catch on fire. Word of warning: if you want to try it on your regular heads amps, monitor temperatures with with a FLIR. You will also need to re-terminate because the LCD-R uses the SR1A's style of termination (female 4-pin XLR). Another option I think could work would be to add a resistor in series because of the LCD-R's sensitivity. That would result in effectively higher output impedance and also throw most of the power from the amp away into heat.
- Pervasive high 3rd order distortion, regardless of sound level. It sticks our like a sort thumb and never goes away, even at the softest levels. The BA sound is likely killing you softly with this song.
- At moderate higher levels, we see an increase in all harmonics which is typical, but it's the odd order harmonics that really rise. That's the 3rd and the 5th.